Large scale production of BMW i vehicles in 2013 requires carbon fibre production to start right away. SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGL ACF) – a joint venture of SGL Group and the BMW Group – officially opened its new state-of-the-art carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, WA on 1st September 2011. The new facility is strategic for the manufacture of ultra light-weight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in the new BMW i vehicles. The two parent companies will invest approximately $100 million in their Moses Lake plant and create 80 new local jobs until 2013.
BMW also claims that all electricity needed for the production of carbon fibers will come from readily available clean and renewable local hydropower.
Though we’ve seen a number of manufacturers sell electric vehicles and sit content with the halo over their heads, this correspondent believes BMW might be the first manufacturer to proactively work at eliminating carbon emissions at various stages in the life cycle of an automobile.
If the i3 is run on electricity generated from renewable resources, the life cycle emission figures for the BMW i3 might very well be half of that of a highly efficient combustion-engine car.
BMW says the decision to build the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake was based primarily on the availability of clean, renewable hydropower and competitive energy costs in the state of Washington. The entire supply chain – ecological, social and economic – has been aligned. Processes have already been developed to recycle carbon fibers and downstream composite materials.
“About a month ago we presented the first concept cars being launched under our new sub-brand, BMW i. The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 are cars like no other. With their purpose built design they will set new standards for clean individual mobility of the future. Carbon fibers are a key construction material for the automotive industry of the 21st century and will change the way we develop and build cars.”
-Dr. Norbert Reithofer, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG
“The manufacture of carbon fibers is a core business for SGL Group and together with our partner BMW Group; we will ensure that carbon fibers play a ground-breaking role in lightweight automotive construction. This new greenfield facility in Moses Lake is a milestone in the use of carbon fibers for large scale production in the automotive industry. This significant investment further underlines our commitment to the U.S., where we already operate carbon fiber and composite part facilities.”
-Robert Koehler, CEO, SGL Group